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I Met Jenny Lawson and It Was The Best Day EVER

I finally met Jenny Lawson…and it was fucking awesome.

Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, is a hysterically funny, amazingly real, incredibly gifted blogger/writer whom I happen to adore. Her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is amazing. I was pretty much peeing my pants and crying with laughter the whole damn time. You’ll wet yourself at both ends and you’ll be happy about it. So you can imagine my shut-my-mouth-piss-my-pants delight, then, when I learned her new book Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things was being released. Yay!!! I knew all I had to do was call my pal Andrea and tell her about Jenny’s book signing in Dallas and she’d be all “Fuck YEAH!” and she was…so we made plans.

First, we had to head to Dallas this morning to pick up numbered passes for the book signing. Jenny would be doing a reading and Q&A before the signing, but all that wasn’t scheduled until later in the afternoon. We got there just before they opened this morning and BOOM! Mission accomplished.

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Rory the raccoon graces the cover of Jenny’s latest book, so naturally we had to get a selfie, right? I tweeted it as well…and Jenny Lawson favorited it. And retweeted it. Holy SHIT biscuits, people! I mean, that’s basically like Jesus retweeting something. Such an honor! Andrea and I squealed all the way to Starbucks (which was exactly across the street). As we were excitedly high-fiving each other over our overpriced legally addictive stimulants, we declared this to be the Best Day Ever.

Next up? A lunchtime catch-up with our pal Lauren (you’ll remember her from the DFW Penis Expedition).  I can’t confirm or deny whether there was any talk about possibly having another DFW Penis Expedition again except yes, there was…and yes, we will. Andrea’s about to get married and Brenda’s engaged, so we need to squeeze in another expedition between weddings.

Then it was straight onto talk about whether the evil Lord Sauron from Lord of the Rings has spent his retirement as an interior decorator for The Cheesecake Factory. Thoughts?

The Tower of Sauron:

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Sauron’s Cheesecake Factory:

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One cheesecake to rule them all. I think I’ve made my point.

Back to the bookstore we went…and before we knew it, it was time for Jenny to take the stage! It’s amazing, by the way, how many people you meet at a book signing. They were all just as wonderfully weird and unique as Jenny herself. And me. And Andrea. It was like having a room full of siblings I’d never met before. Awesomeness.

By the way, I made Jenny a card with the DFW Penis on it. Surely someone as awesome as Jenny would want to know that they were balls deep in the DFW Penis, yes? Yes. So I made her a card to show her exactly where the bookstore is within the DFW Penis.

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Jenny entered the room to thunderous applause. I actually tried to start a standing ovation, but I was in the back so no one could see me except the people behind me who were already standing. Sometimes I don’t think when I’m over excited. I got about five people to stand, though, so let’s just call it a win.

She read two chapters: one somewhat serious and one funny. Both were funny, though. Jenny has a way of telling painful truths in a way that’s still funny and still real. She has a gift and I want to be her when I grow up. The Q&A was awesome as well and full of laughs. With all the shit this woman has to deal with, I expected her to be a bit awkward…but she really wasn’t. I’m sure she probably felt that way, but she was amazing. Sincere, funny, and very real. And quite brave for being out and about with a gazillion adoring fans.

We lined up for the signing, chatting with more of our fellow fans and just enjoying the day. The closer we got to Jenny, the more excited we were to share with her that she was smack-dab, balls deep in the DFW Penis. Shit was about to get real, yo.

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OMG…she’s right…THERE!!! (And yes…I did put a sparkly glitter daisy sticker in the middle of the balls on the map.)

Then the moment arrived. We met the incredibly awesome Jenny Lawson!!! In true hot mess fashion, we welcomed her to Dallas and then…well…I actually uttered this sentence:

We wanted to let you know that you’re balls deep in the DFW Penis, Jenny!

She’s all…what? LOL. I explained. It was a very surreal experience to explain to Jenny Lawson that we basically live in a dick. And she loved it.

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Best. Day. EVER. Truly.

Thank you, Jenny, for letting us be part of your tribe. ♥

Sleeping Beauty

Who hasn’t had a really big exciting day where you just go and go and go forever and then at the end of the night you collapse into a grateful, happy, tired heap? Have you had several of those days in a row? How about a whole year? That’s what 2014 was like for me. A tailspin of joy and crazy (good crazy) and love and hope and awesomeness. Then I got tired.

Last fall, a lot of it came to a screeching halt when I started having gallstone attacks. If you’ve never had this problem, let me just tell you this: my girlfriends who’ve had children and have also had their gallbladders out have all told me that the gallstone pain was worse than passing an 8 pound human through their vajayjays. Since I was never lucky enough to be a mom, I consider the fact that I’ve at least had to go through the gallstone thing a badge of honor. So in a way, I have given birth…just to a couple of gritty, creepy stones. I’d feel more accomplished if I had an adorable, tiny version of me and HMH waddling around the house but the gallstones make me feel pretty bad ass.

I got through the process like a champ, but my weight loss crawled to a halt. I have lost another size since my gallbladder surgery but that’s it. My weight has hovered at 271 pounds for months now. And you know what? I haven’t cared one damn bit.

Imagine (and I know some of you don’t have to…because you’ve lived it too) being so huge that you can’t properly wash yourself in the shower. Imagine being so large that you get out of breath just toweling yourself dry. You have to prop your legs up on the couch in order to reach your feet and put your shoes on. The fabric on the inside thighs of all your pants rubs clear away before your pants are old enough to be out of style. Everything either hurts or is exhausting to do. You stretch your weekend errands out into batches so that you can rest in between. And sex with your significant other? It doesn’t happen. You just want to curl up in a ball and let someone take it all away.

That was my life for years…and I’m done with that now.

2014 was an amazing year for me. I’ve been hugging myself and giving myself high fives for the longest time now…and I’m still doing it even though I haven’t lost any weight. I can’t stop doing it. Everything is still a victory for me.

Got out of the car without hurting myself. Yay!

I’m smaller than HMH. Woohoo!

Ran all my errands and came home and cleaned the whole house then did a big household project. Fuck’in-A, bubba!!

Everything is a miraculous, victorious rainbow of unicorns and kittens. I love life!

Something weird happened to me the other day, though, and it got my attention.

I was at work and someone asked me how much weight I’ve lost now. It was the way they asked me…sort of like they already knew I was going to say “Still 113 pounds” but they wanted to see what I’d say. Sort of like they were silently wondering if I was going to explain why I’ve stopped losing weight. There was absolutely nothing about their question that was concerning to me. This person is a long-time supporter and I adore them. There was no malicious pleasure in the question. It was my answer that surprised me. I said “Still 113 and I’m okay with that!”

What?

When did I get to be okay with that? Didn’t I want more than that? Didn’t I want to knock this mother out of the ballpark?? Yes, I did. Yes, I DO!!!

There was a time not too long ago when I would have felt horrible about this. I don’t. Not one bit. Because all that’s happened is that I’ve been distracted by a joyful life. So who cares? I’ve lost 113 pounds and I’m overjoyed. I’m able to do more and be stronger than I have in a long, long time.

My answer woke me up, though. It showed me that I have some learning to do right now about how to live my joyful life while continuing to reach for my long term goals. I have more weight to lose. About 113 more pounds or so. But I no longer feel like a hideous Jabba the Hutt creature who has to lose weight in order to feel worthy. The fact of the matter is…if I spent the rest of my life at 271 pounds I would be happy. I’m free of the worst of my demons.

And the thing is…I know I can lose the rest of this weight. I just have to exercise it off. I’ve been too busy enjoying the Hot Mess Love Fest. I’m part raccoon. I’m very easily distracted. Now I’ve suddenly remembered “Oh yeah! There’s stuff I have to do!”

raccoon

My goal to lose the rest of this weight is simply for the principle of the thing. The challenge. The sense of accomplishment. The victory of getting myself into the best shape possible. This is all new to me. I’ve lived a lifetime of trying to lose weight because I feel that I’m worthless as I am. I no longer feel that way. In fact, as I write this I can feel myself thinking “Who IS this chick? I like her!!!”

I no longer want to lose weight to fit in. I no longer need to lose weight to feel complete. I’m happy as I am. But I need to remember that there are still goals I want to achieve. I feel strongly that accomplishing these other goals will only strengthen the awesome feelings of bad assedness already swirling around me.

I feel like I’ve been sleepy for a while and I’m finally starting to wake up and go “Oh, crap…I have shit I need to do!” Whoops!!

So pardon me while I crawl out of bed and brush my teeth…I’ve got shit to do and you’re coming with me. Spring is coming soon and I’ll be getting my new bike. Can’t wait to pedal my bad ass self around Texas. And, just in time, Pandora has come out with a new charm. Check it out:

My next reward!
My next reward!

Y’all know that Saint Bernards are my favorite dogs. Miss Kirby has ruined me for any other breed. I’m thinking this little baby is my reward for hitting 269 on the scale. And maybe the new Texas Rangers bag from Dooney & Bourke. Because, hey…any excuse to buy a handbag, peeps!

Just a little update for 2015

Peeps!

This is just a housekeeping announcement, really, but I wanted to chat super quick about the appearance of my blog/website. As you may have noticed, the former messy desktop theme has gone bye-bye.

The short explanation is that I migrated my site to a new server this week – and that server found my old blog theme to be quite antiquated. The nerve! Normally, this could be fixed by someone in-the-know. I am not that person. In fact, my former blog theme was very generously custom created for me by an old friend who has since flown the coop and moved on to bigger and better things – so I have no access to him or his incredible brain.

I’ll probably play around with themes over the next several weeks and I just wanted to give y’all a heads up that I’m not going crazy or anything…I’m simply trying to find something that’s a bit more refreshed, but still pays tribute to the Hot Mess that I am. 🙂

In other news…GO COWBOYS!!! I don’t know what gets me more excited: the fact that my team is finally in the playoffs or the fact that I can finally shop for Cowboys gear like most other folks. That simple pleasure was denied me when I was a size 32.

I snapped this for a friend who cheers for the Packers. Ha HA!!!
I snapped this for a friend who cheers for the Packers. Ha HA!!!

I’ll be back soon with a few blog posts that have been poking at me lately. Wishing you all the very best in this fabulous new year. Let’s go make 2015 our bitch!

Some People Change, Some People Don’t

Someone on my Facebook fan page asked whether I’ve noticed, one year after surgery, that I’m treated differently by people…and the answer is yes. And no.

Most of the people I knew before my surgery still treat me the same – because they love me, or at least like me, for the person inside. They don’t even remember the girl in my “before” picture because they never really noticed my physical faults in the first place…and I love them for it.

There are a few people in my life who don’t get it. Unfortunately I work with them, so I can’t completely exclude them from my life. To them, my surgery and my process is not mine…it’s somehow about them. My decision to have gastric sleeve surgery seems to have labeled me as a person who needs to be babysat, else I might eat the entire Thanksgiving potluck and cause the rest of the department to skulk back to their desks with empty plates and empty stomachs. And bloody nubs where their fingers were because they tried to grab the last dinner roll from my heaving jaws. I call these people the Food Police.

It’s hard for me to handle people like this in a professional environment because I have quite the sassy mouth, but I also have a profound desire to keep my job. This is the reason I don’t drink at company happy hours. It’s also the reason I try to avoid the Food Police as much as possible. I’m just trying to keep the peace because, honestly, these people aren’t my personal friends and it’s not worth the hassle. Sometimes, however, I need to put someone in their place as an example and I get the sweats just thinking about it. I always feel like I’m going to let my tongue off the leash a bit too far and end up being escorted to my car with my personal belongings in a box.

One day in particular comes to mind as I’m thinking of the Food Police. I was chatting with a few people when one of the secretaries came by with a tray of cookies that were leftover from a celebration. I hadn’t had a cookie in several weeks and these were from a bakery…and they were gorgeous. A little something sweet sounded quite yummy to me so, like others in the group, I said thank you and took a cookie. You would have thought I pulled a gun out of my handbag and shot a dog…that’s the reaction I got from the Food Police.

It started with a very loud, over dramatic gasp, which brought everyone’s focus to the mortified expression on her face. As if that wasn’t enough, she pointed a finger at me and loudly exclaimed, “YOU CAN’T EAT THAT!!!”

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Everyone turned to look at me. Bad, bad, bad. This is exactly the situation I try to avoid. First, it takes me back to my days as a ten year old kid who was repeatedly emotionally terrorized by an asshole over whatever food I put in my mouth. And then all the kids and parents would turn and look at me, most of them secretly grateful that the negativity was not aimed at them. I don’t like being reminded of what that felt like.

Once I get put in that spot, I feel a split second of fear and panic before I realize I’m an eff’in adult. I’ve spent a fortune on therapy to get past all this shit…and, oh crap, here comes my sassy mouth with a big zinger. But I’m at work. And I have to be professional. So I can’t verbally smack the crap out of this insensitive asshat like I want to. I decided to play along and see where that took me.

“Why not?” I asked innocently.

The Food Police sputtered madly at first, then blurted “Because you worked so hard and lost all this weight. You can’t have a cookie!!!”

By this time, most of the others in the group had slightly embarrassed or bemused looks on their faces because they realized I was fighting to keep a lid on the Hot Mess Princess who was just dying to get out and put this chick in her place. The finger was still pointing at me. Part of me wanted to bite it, but I would have just proved her point so I resisted.

“Don’t you think I can be trusted with a cookie? Do you think this one cookie is going to bring back all the weight I’ve lost and undo all the hard work I’ve done?”

She sort of blinked as she thought about it. I didn’t wait for an answer.

“Do you even know how long it’s been since I’ve had a cookie?”

More blinking. More suppressed smirking from my colleagues. I continued.

“I didn’t realize my food choices affected you so much, so I apologize.” I slowly moved the cookie away from my mouth with the same cautious obedience a criminal uses on an episode of Cops. Be cool, man. Just be cool. I put the cookie down.

“There. I put the cookie down. Are you feeling better? I’m so sorry I upset you.”

The look in her eyes told me she finally got it. She saw what she’d really done, which is embarrass me with her ridiculous judgmental bullshit. I resisted the urge to say “Maybe you should lie down” or something, but I knew I’d made my point. I walked away quietly.

As much as her behavior pissed me off and as happy as I was that I was able to stand up for myself with diplomacy, I still returned to my desk with tears in my eyes like a scolded little girl. I took a moment to pull myself together and then I was fine. That ten year old little girl will always be there inside my head…and that’s okay. I have the skills to deal with jerks now. I never fail to come to her rescue – but I hate that other people’s behavior touches this part of me. I know it’s going to happen once in a while. Once I unleash the fury of HMP, I feel better. The jerk’s feelings, to be frank, don’t matter to me in the slightest.

HMP-motto

I have similar feelings about the judgy strangers I meet from day to day. I was out to dinner with a friend and I was eating my dessert when I caught the disapproving glare of a stranger a few tables over. My first thought was “What’s up their ass? I look awesome!” Then I realized this person doesn’t know that. He’s looking at a disgusting fat woman eating dessert. He doesn’t know I’ve lost 113 pounds. He doesn’t know I won’t be able to eat the whole thing. From his seat at the Judgy Asshole table, I’m going to eat the whole dessert and then go out for pie later. How dare I do that? I should be jogging around the parking lot, not daintily spooning up a few bites of my mini peanut butter chocolate mousse.

Who the hell did I think I was, right?

See, when I run into jerks like this I know I don’t have to face them again. Strangers are awesome that way. My job isn’t in jeopardy if I mouth off, so the sky’s the limit really. In this particular case, I settled for making a suggestive motion with the spoon like I was trying to turn him on.

I love doing shit like that to men who obviously find me disgusting and think they’re quite the badass for humbling me with dirty looks. My intention was to take away any possibility of a boner his little pinky dick might get for the next 6 months. Judging from the look on his face, I was successful…and that’s all I wanted. He doesn’t need to know that in reality I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of people who didn’t know me last year – so when they see me take a few bites of something and say I’m done, the unavoidable next question is…”Oh, are you on a diet?”

First I cringe, then I smile and explain. The fact that they first see a fat person and then they think it’s okay to ask such a thing just irks me.

The problem is…the world still thinks they have way too much freedom with the boundaries of overweight people and it really pisses me off. If there’s a guy in a grocery store with his cart loaded with booze, the assumption is what? Someone’s throwing a party!!! The assumption isn’t usually “Wow, this dude needs help…” Replace him with a fat person and a cart loaded with chips and processed crap? People feel they have the right to glance at the cart and give dirty looks. You disgusting person. How can you eat all that?

Hot chick walking out of Victoria’s Secret with a big pink bag ‘o panties. Like…hundreds of dollars in panties (which is probably 5 pair). Guys are drooling over her. Not one of them is thinking “Wow, she’s in credit card debt so bad she’ll be an old lady before she pays that off.” I don’t want to get with someone like that…she’ll drag me down into financial hell.

She looks good…so she’s okay.

Because we’re overweight, we wear our addiction for everyone to see…and so people feel entitled to assert their opinions for some reason. They think they’re being helpful. They think they’re educating us. They need to turn their judgy vision on themselves and leave others be.

So the answer is yes…and no. People treat me different and people treat me the same. The people who really matter in my life treat me the same as they did when I weighed 383 pounds. Healthy relationships don’t change whether you weigh 100 pounds or 500 pounds. And the jerks? Yeah, I still get the same treatment from them because jerks don’t change either. Sometimes we want them to, but they don’t.

There are a few clueless souls out there, however, who treat me like some sort of walking cookie monster because I was honest about having surgery and they’re judgy, misguided people who can’t see the damage they do with their unhealthy need to control. They need to interfere in order to feel helpful in someway and they don’t see the damage they do as they’re mowing you down in the process.

My take-away from all of this? I’ve changed…and that’s enough. I’m blessed with loving people in my life. I’m grateful for my independent brain and my will to be happy…and that’s all I really need.


Mud Pie W-Initial Canvas Tote


Soar Journal (Notebook, Diary) (Guided Journals Series) (Black Rock)

Yes, I’m here. Really!

I’m so sorry I haven’t written a damn thing since…oh, about 1990. That’s what it feels like.

The thing no one tells you about losing a ton of weight is that you get to a point where you feel so good you want to do so much more – but you’re still dealing with the same 24 hours that you had before. If I’m going to have this much energy, the least they could do is give me more hours in which to accomplish all the amazing shit that a Hot Mess Princess must do…am I right? Well, they didn’t.

Y’all know that my plan for pulling away from emotional eating was to substitute that incredibly destructive behavior with something positive. A lot of people would have chosen exercise as the alternative, but I’ve seen that go the wrong way too many times. You can be just as compulsive with exercise as you can with eating and, if anyone’s going to fuck up their good intentions in that area, it’d be me. No thanks. I chose needlework because it’s been a passion of mine since I learned how in Girl Scouts…and because I know I won’t get crazy compulsive about it. It’s something I retreat to when I start thinking about food or body weight or anything negative and destructive. It brings me peace and calm – and it keeps my hands too busy to eat.

The farther I get from my surgery date, the more grateful I am that I had a plan for replacing destructive behaviors. Just over a year ago, if I had a bad day at work I’d get home and curl up with a pizza and a pint of mint chip ice cream. And maybe a bag of salty potato chips. And some licorice, perhaps. The list was endless and so was my appetite for calming myself with eating. Nowadays I eat considerably less. I’ve either made peace with the foods that were my vices or I’ve completely banished them from my life – but I didn’t have brain surgery, y’all. I still fight the compulsion to stuff food in my face and chew away my anxiety. The gift is…I simply can’t do it.

What an amazing year it's been...
What an amazing year it’s been…

Having 85% of your stomach surgically removed doesn’t magically make you want salad and green smoothies for the rest of your life, but it does stop you from washing off a bad day by downing an entire box of Little Debbies. IF there was a box of snack cakes anywhere near me today and IF I wanted some, I could probably get part of one down. Maybe a whole one if I hadn’t had anything to eat for hours and hours – and, in spite of what the multi-billion dollar diet industry tells you, one snack cake isn’t going to kill you. For the record, though, snack cakes are on my banned list. Why? Because I simply don’t get enough enjoyment out of them anymore. They’re not worth the empty calories. My taste buds have radically changed…and most processed snacks taste nasty as hell to me.

So I’ve been doing a lot of needlework, which I love…and it doesn’t make me wear bigger pants. I’ve also been doing a few household projects that were badly needed, including cleaning our dumping ground of a bedroom so that the elliptical trainer could be unearthed. It took me hours of emptying storage boxes and tossing, putting away, or donating the crap inside in order to get to the damn thing – but I finally did it. It was an epic project on the same scale as finding King Tut’s tomb, peeps. Now the elliptical waits for me every morning. Sometimes I get on it, sometimes I don’t. But it’s all up in my face again, and it’s made me realize that the second part of my journey is just beginning.

The most recent needlework project I completed for our home. I love the quaint country look of this design.
The most recent needlework project I completed for our home. I love the quaint country look of this design.

For the past year, I’ve celebrated some amazing milestones. 50 pounds. My first drop in clothing size. Reaching my feet for the first time. Dropping another clothing size. Riding a bike. Hitting the 200’s on the scale…and more. These milestones are all amazing and wonderful. They’re also mostly weight or size related. Now that I’ve lost 113 pounds and I’m halfway to my goal weight range, I realize that there will come a day when I don’t have any more weight to lose. There won’t be any more sizes to drop. And then what will my goal be? If I’m not careful, I won’t have anything left to strive for. There won’t be anything left to write about – except maybe when HMH successfully farts along to the 1812 Overture – and I assure you, that’s not pretty.

Kokopelli Sunrise won an Honorable Mention in the State Fair of Texas needlework competition!
Kokopelli Sunrise won an Honorable Mention in the State Fair of Texas needlework competition!

I still have quite a few weight loss related milestones to celebrate, but I’m adding some exciting ones to strive for in 2015 – and, just like needlework, they’re helping me substitute one habit for another. I’m going to add the habit of exercise to my repertoire in the new year…and, like my withdrawal from certain foods, diet soda and caffeine, I’m going to do it with baby steps. With me, baby steps seem to be the only way I can really get things done. 2015 will be about celebrating the remaining weight and size milestones while bringing in new healthy living goals that will set me up for a lifetime of happy exercising.

In the next few weeks, I’ll share my 2015 goals with you and I invite you to share yours with me. As always, we’re stronger together than we are apart…and the wonderful thing about this thing called the internet is that even someone living in a remote location with no friends or family close by can feel connected to others with the same issues. So let’s squeeze together and hug it out and get ready for an amazing year because we deserve it.

I’m ready. Are you?